Oscars Fortnight Day 15: Minari

Minari (2020)

The 93rd Academy Awards (2021)
Nominations: 6
Wins: 1

I wanted to close out our fortnight with something from this year’s batch of Best Picture nominees, and since Colin already reviewed Nomadland, it really had to be Minari. This has been a long time coming, as Minari has been on my radar since is debuted at Sundance way back in January 2020. Typically I’m able to see the “big deal” indie movies at least sometime in the December-January awards catch-up season, but given the on-going situation this movie wasn’t something I could see until it hit virtual cinemas in February. That was such a long time to spend listening to critics hype it up that I almost resented it and dragged my feet to finally watch the movie. But boy am I glad I finally did.

Continue reading

Oscar Fortnight Day 14: The Blind Side

The Blind Side (2009)

The 82nd Academy Awards (2010)
Nominations: 2
Wins: 1

I, like John, got very much into the Oscars around 2006 as well as the idea of seeing every Best Picture nominee each year. This culminated in one of my absolute wildest nights in college when I went all alone to go see the extremely forgettable Kate Winslet vehicle The Reader. However, 2009 was the year where that longterm plan came to a screeching halt, almost entirely because of The Blind Side. I saw every other Best Picture nominee in 2009, but I had so little interest in seeing this movie that I just couldn’t pay money to see it. This, of course, was a result of The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences changing their cap of 5 Best Picture winners each year to a maximum of ten, ushering in a breadth of Best Picture nominees that hadn’t been seen since the early ’40s. Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 13: Munich

Munich (2005)

The 78th Academy Awards (2006)
Nominations: 5
Wins: 0

Hollywood loves revenge. It’s one of the easiest ways to simultaneously motivate a character and get the audience on their side. It doesn’t matter if you’re Batman or Beatrix Kiddo, as long as you’re trying to right as perceived wrong, that’s a compelling story we’ll all want to see. As an added bonus, revenge stories come pre-packaged with ethical dilemmas for filmmakers to sink their teeth into: what does justice look like? Who decides when enough is enough? Do the ends justify the means? Ultimately: is revenge ever the best course of action? Increasingly, I find my answer to that question is no. And based on 2005’s Munich, I think Steven Spielberg agrees with me.

Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 11: Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich (2000)

The 73rd Academy Awards (2001)
Nominations: 5
Wins: 1

An interesting thing happened with the Oscars in the 1990s: they started giving the big awards to popular movies. Forrest Gump won Best Picture. Titanic won Best Picture. For as snooty and out-of-touch the Academy has a reputation for being, there was a stretch there were being the biggest movie of the year also meant you had a legit shot at Best Picture. That trends goes at least as far as the 73rd Academy Awards, which gave the top prize to Gladiator, the third highest grossing film of 2000 (behind How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Mission: Impossible II). Now, I love me some Gladiator, but is it truly superior to Steven Soderbergh’s one-two punch of Erin Brockovich and Traffic? And beyond that, did the Academy pick exactly the wrong time to go mainstream?

Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 10: The English Patient

The English Patient (1996)

The 69th Academy Awards (1997)
Nominations: 12
Wins: 9

Probably not the most appropriate review to accompany today’s news, considering this is a very white person movie. But hey, my Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner review is still sitting there for the reading if you want.

Anyways… going into The English Patient, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, since the two things I equate this movie with don’t actually have much to do with the content of the film itself. One big thing about this movie for me is that it took home a bunch of Oscars at the first Academy Awards ceremony I can remember watching live on TV. Granted, it’s not like its ability to bring home the gold inspired me to seek it out (until now), since I wasn’t exactly interested in a sweeping romantic epic at the age of eight. As you could probably guess, the other thing I equate with this movie is the episode of Seinfeld called “The English Patient”, where Elaine Benes is driven insane by being seemingly the only person in her life that doesn’t love the film in question. Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 9: A Few Good Men

A Few Good Men (1992)

The 65th Academy Awards (1993)
Nominations: 4
Wins: 0

A Few Good Men is totally 90s. It stars Tom Cruise and Demi Moore. It’s Rob Reiner. It’s got the Castle Rock logo—Seinfeld vibes intensifying. This is an era where a courtroom drama could be a top ten grossing film of the year (it was number 7 for 1992). I mean, it’s got the line. You know? The one about the truth! He can’t handle it! How many times has that been spoofed on The Critic?

Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 8: Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire (1981)

The 54th Academy Awards (1982)
Nominations: 7
Wins: 4

When I chose the films I did for these Oscars reviews, I was not intending to chart the course of British films at the Oscars, but here we are. After dominating the Oscar conversations throughout the ’60s, the ’70s were a pretty fallow period for the UK film industry in terms of prestige. I’m sure much of this has to do with the sheer amount of groundbreaking films filled with sex and violence that were coming out of Hollywood that decade, while the Brits struggled to keep up. However, Chariots of Fire seemed to rejuvenate both the British film industry as well as its chances at the Oscars, as there were considerably more UK films going head-to-head with the Americans at the Oscars throughout the ’80s. This, of course, is fitting considering Chariots of Fire is the story of some scrappy Brits going up against the big bad Americans at the 1924 Olympics. Continue reading